Town Crier News Staff
The Leachville City Council hired a new police chief Monday evening, Feb.5, to replace Ken Womack, who was relieved of duties in January.
After a short executive session, the council voted unanimously to hire Bryan Crites as the new Leachville Police Chief. Crites is a Leachville native with 16 years of police experience. He has worked for the Mississippi County Sheriffs Department, Craighead County Sheriffs Department and the City of Manila, before accepting the Leachville position.
The council gave Crites the authority to interview policemen to fill the current vacancy left by Stu Sigman, who resigned in December.
Leachville Mayor Sheila Spurlock reviewed necessary changes in the 2006 and 2007 budgets. After a discussion the council passed Ordinance 2007-1 amending the 2006 budget. Updated changes included a General Fund totaling $671,057.92 and a Street Fund of $142,300. They went on to pass Ordinance 2007-2, with changes in the new budget listing the General Fund at $552,329.21, the Street Fund at $132,500, and the Water Department at $469,000.
Mayor Spurlock reported Chris Jester, of Jonesboro, had been interviewed for the position of city attorney, but no decision had been made for that position.
Mark Johnson reported he had completed paperwork for filing a grievance concerning the inability to hear council proceedings, but has heard nothing from it.
"The council speaks so low people in the room can't hear what they are saying," Johnson said. "They need better microphones or they need to speak up."
A second special called council meeting was held on Friday at 6 p.m. to discuss hiring a third policeman and revision of the city's Animal Control Ordinance.
After a short executive session the council reconvened to accept the recommendation of Chief Crites to hire a third policeman, Steve Lancaster. By his own request, Lancaster will begin work in two weeks.
The council voted to amend Section 14 of the Animal Control Ordinance 1997-2, dealing with animals and fowl inside the city limits. Section 14 makes it unlawful to keep any animals in a number to be used as breeding animals, food, or for sale to the public in a residential area.
Randy and Marsha Jackson addressed the council about their intent to have horses on their property south of town, for family use, and look to the future for possibly raising quarter horses. Some of the proposed pasture for the animals will be inside the city limits, but the stable will not be. The Jackson property was part of a recent city annexation bringing Leachville city limits, on both sides of Highway 119/77 south, to intersect with Highway 18.
The council voted to amended Section 14 of the ordinance to allow two head of livestock within an acre of land, with no stables or human dwellings inside the city limits. The Jacksons plan to start fencing for the horses within the next two weeks.
The next scheduled council meeting will be at 7 p.m. Feb. 19.